Pregnancy Heartburn: Oh, it’s real.

If you have never been pregnant before, I am here to explain something and guarantee that this will happen to you at some point:

  • Someone tells you about a symptom they got during pregnancy.
  • You secretly evaluate all their health and life decisions and previous medical history.
  • You curse yourself for being judgmental, but secretly stop caring after approximately 1 second.
  • You decide that there is no way that you’ll get that symptom.

hell-noHopefully you’ll be right. Or, you know, a better person than me.

These symptoms you will hear about can range from back pain to kankles to hemorrhoids (ohmygod please don’t tell me about those if you got them or didn’t get them) to nausea to, I don’t know, blinking too much. Apparently if you have any malady in the 9-month period while you also happen to be supporting another life form, it’s a pregnancy symptom. The bummer of it is that most of these maladies are, in fact, pregnancy symptoms. However, at hearing many of them you will secretly go, “Nah. No way. Not to me. I [insert whatever lame excuse you think you have here that will make you avoid whatever symptom you have heard about: do yoga, meditate, run, don’t run, already have a child, don’t already have a child, have a mom who didn’t get that, have a dog, only eat non-processed food, once punched a grizzly bear straight in the face, etc.].

The fact of the matter is this: no matter who you are or what you do, there will be side effects to growing a human for nine months, and other than the stronger hair and nails which I did not receive thankyouverymuch, they can make you curmudgeonly and angry.

The latest one of these symptoms that I secretly swore to myself there was no way I would get is heartburn. I had never, ever, ever had heartburn before in my life. My husband would get it occasionally and I literally would sit there and ask him what it felt like when he got it. Let me tell you, he loved that. It was his favorite question to answer, explaining what his aggravating pain was while he was having it. Boy oh boy, did he ever not get annoyed with me on that one for the better part of a decade we’ve been together. I’m sure I’ll love it just as much when he asks me to describe what labor feels like.

so-mad-i-couldBut heartburn? Not me, man. Spicy food? Bring it on. Whatever else brings on heartburn (fatty foods? citrus? air? I don’t know, really)? More, please. And then one day as I was eating my “Thai spicy 5/5 spice level” curry” from our favorite Thai place in town the heartburn hit me like a semi running down my esophagus.

“Something’s…wrong,” I said suddenly to my husband, as I wiped away the tears from eating my too-spicy-even-for-me-or-maybe-it’s-that-hyper-sensitive-five-senses-thing-I-have-going-on-now food.

Being an actually caring and wonderful person who just also sometimes happens to jump to the last possible outcome of any situation, he sat up and went in one breath, “What? Is it something with the baby? Are you okaydoweneedtogotothehospital?!”

(Do you see why he’s my favorite tax lawyer husband? I have decided to find this jump to conclusions thing he does endearing, else it would drive me out of my mind.)

I calmly replied that no, I don’t need to go to the hospital, it’s just that I feel this intense…pain…in my chest all of a sudden. That didn’t help the situation.

Then it clicked for us at the same time. “Wait,” TLH went, starting to smirk, “Wait. Does it feel all…burny?” “YES! And it’s hard to swallow and it just generally is painful all up in here,” I said motioning toward my chest in an up-and-down gesture.

I’ll give it to him. TLH managed to hold back the laughter he had built up for the last six and a half years in karmic retribution and said something along the lines of, “well, the first step is to put down the curry. The next step is just to take it easy, take some Tums, and just rest.” I could see the smirk through the back of his head as he walked away, though. I could see it.

Folks, I had no idea that heartburn was so obnoxious. It’s just annoying enough to make you curmudgeonly, but just below the point where you feel like you can actually complain for an extended period of time, which makes it even more annoying, actually. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve gotten it a few times since, and will probably get it again.

Despite my vows to stop looking everything up on pregnancy websites due to my general annoyance at getting riled up at fear-mongering articles, I did break down and found out that apparently “Well over half” of pregnant women get heartburn “at some point during pregnancy.” First of all, that’s a ridiculous range to give. For all the pregnancy websites’ articles they claim to research (“Is loading the dishwasher safe???” Spoiler alert: of course it is, idiots.), you’d think they could at least give a number. But supposedly due to the extra hormones, positioning of the baby, and then any other number of just weird things that happen when you’re pregnant, you’re more likely to get heartburn while pregnant, even if you’ve never had it before, or have an excuse in your head from your list of lame excuses you’ve contrived for everything that won’t happen to you while pregnant. The Internet didn’t tell me that last part, but I felt like it should have.

I think the worst part is that I feel ridiculous complaining about it, knowing so many other people have had heartburn problems for a significant portion of their adult lives. It’s a lot like seeing a movie everyone has seen way too long after everyone has seen it, but still wanting to talk about it because it’s new to you. “So…I just saw E.T…” I might as well be saying to people.

The thing is, despite all your preparations or mental fortitude of mind over matter, sometimes matter takes the cake over mind, and that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Or how the Thai-spicy curry burns your esophagus. Whatever metaphor you choose, it’s how it goes.

Just have the Tums ready.

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